Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category


Store Bits: Staff Choices

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

A new round of Staff Choices of both new and old books.  Enjoy!

A History of Future Cities -Daniel Brook
Recommended by Sigrid

“A pioneering exploration of four cities where East meets West and past becomes future: St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Dubai. The cities share an important characteristic: they were planned as cities of the future. The premise of the city of tomorrow is a fascinating one, and this book is a wealth of information.”

Redeployment – Phil Klay (ebook here)
Recommended by Renate & Reinoud

“Honest and brutal and moving stories about war and coming home and
life as you knew it”

The Gone-Away World – Nick Harkaway (ebook)
Recommended by Sophie

“What a debut!
A post-apocalyptic world gone mad, featuring Heroes, mimes, kung-fu, Stuff, and a massive plot twist that throws the entire story on its head.
I loved it.”

The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison
Recommended by Tiemen

“Warning, do not read this book. You will read it in one go and then curse the author because you do not want the story to end.
This is one of those stories where everything just works. A well thought out world: elves, goblins, airships and a incredibly detailed and intriguing Byzantine-like imperial court. An very likeable protagonist who you can’t help but root for. And a smart story about politics, doing the right thing and deadly court intrigue.
All I hope is that Katherine Addison will write a second novel soon.
In the meantime I’ll be rereading The Goblin Emperor again.”

Hyperion – Dan Simmons (ebook)
Recommended by JeroenW

“Don’t let the cover fool you into thinking this is a fantasy novel. In fact, it’s a love letter to science fiction. It’s a frame story about six travellers who are going to meet the The Shrike, a supernatural being covered in razorsharp blades.
During their travels the companions each tell their reason for doing so, and each of their stories is representative of a science fiction sub-genre (military SF, cyberpunk etc.).
A great introduction to SF, and a great read.”

You Review: The Sun and Other Stars – Brigid Pasulka

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Reviewed by Saartje Kuijs

As someone who has lived in Italy for a while, any book about the Italian culture immediately appeals to me. I love getting transported back to the heat of the Italian sun in summer, the quick temperament of its inhabitants and even the many bureaucratic problems the media love to talk about. So when I saw The Sun and Other Stars by Brigid Pasulka on the You Review list, I had to read it.

It did not disappoint. The Sun and Other Stars centres around a young man, Etto, who lives in the once famous jet set town of San Benedetto. San Benedetto is inhabited by many colourful, and very Italian, characters, from Etto’s womanizing friend Fede, to his demented grandmother whom he takes to church every Sunday. Life in the town gets shaken up with the arrival of famous football star Yuri Fil and his family. They will play a crucial role in helping Etto to come to terms with the deaths of his twin brother and mother.

The Sun and Other Stars is honest and life-like. It is not about big adventures but strikes much closer to home as it deals with grief, growing up and accepting life the way it is. The characters in the book paint an amazing picture of life in Italy and especially its enthusiastic football culture. It is funny, eccentric and above all, realistic. Sometimes the many Italian words and phrases in between the English ones slow down the flow of the book, but overall The Sun and Other Stars is an interesting read for anyone who is looking for a book that deals with big problems in a surprisingly light-hearted, but definitely genuine, way. If you happen to love Italy, and football as well, then this is a book you certainly shouldn’t miss.

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

There is no ebook available of The Sun and Other Stars at the moment, but there is one available of her previous novel: A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True.

You Review: The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Reviewed by Henk van Doorn

I nearly forgot why I read books before I started to read this marvelous book with its compelling story and wonderful people in it.

The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a gem. I have been reading a lot for work and therefore reading books was not my first choice to spend some free time on. But I was drawn into this extraordinary book about books, a bookshop and love. Love for books, love for life.

It transported me into another world in which I was touched by another set of circumstances, other lives. I think the reason why a lot of people watch sitcoms on TV, listen to music, play a videogame, make facebook one of their favorite retreats, or twitter their fingers to the bone, is to have a break from their own routine, their daily life. To step into the lives of others and feel connected to them. It’s like meeting new friends, share their lives, their loves, and it makes you feel alive. It gives you a new perspective. Forces you to take a step back and realize how important it is to love. To live your own life, to cherish what you have and the people that are important to you.

This book gently shows you again and again that when one door closes, another door will open. No matter what happens or how big the loss is. That if you get set in your ways and the problems seem to stack up, it is easy to get disappointed and negative about things. But good things inevitably do happen. Like things inevitably change. That even when all goes wrong and you are down and out, it is so vitally important to keep an open mind. You might find something new you like and maybe even learn something, or will be reminded of something you nearly forgot. Maybe that life flows on? That there is always hope and a new beginning, no matter how big the loss is, or whatever happened. That life is like a boat or a train on a journey. It will sail or leave the station. On its way to new experiences. New sights. And new people to meet. Better be on it, or you might miss out..

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

This book has two titles:  The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry in the UK and The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry in the US.

Ebooks available for All These Things I’ve Done and Because It Is My Blood.

You Review: I Lived on Butterfly Hill – Marjorie Agosin

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Reviewed by Laura Baaijens

I Lived on Butterfly Hill is nothing short of a cute book. Set in the time of a dictatorship, there are hardships, of course, but the characters are all so likeable and inspiring that it nicely balances out the nerve-wracking situation they are all in. It may be a fictional girl living under a fictional government, but as Marjorie Agosín, the author, grew up during the real Chilean dictatorship, we can assume that she paints quite an accurate picture. At least from a child’s point of view.

We first see Celeste in her hometown, with her family and friends, going to the school she’s always gone too, enjoying all the beautiful parts of the Chilean culture. Yet things begin to change. Strange ships show up, classmates disappear, books are burned and eventually the grown-ups around her can not keep the truth of the situation from her anymore.

Her parents run a free clinic to help the poor and as the dictator does not agree with any sort of charity or free-thinking, they have to go into hiding. Eventually Celeste herself is forced to go live with her aunt in the United States until all is safe again.

How long will she stay there? Will she even be able to go back? And if so what will she find when she gets home? Can she blend in and feel at home in the States until then?

Everything is very uncertain. Not just for the characters in the book, the plot is quite unpredictable for the reader as well. It keeps this YA novel really interesting and will have you read quickly.

The story is accompanied by illustrations by Lee White. They were added after the copies for reviewers were printed.  Judging by the cover, however, they will be amazing and will help lift this story to a whole new level. All in all, I Lived on Butterfly Hill is quite a unique book. It is poetic, a tiny bit spiritual, but most of all a compelling story about a girl growing up and finding her place in the world.

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

Pulitzer Prize Winners 2014

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Congratulation to everyone who won a 2014 Pulitzer Prize last night!  The full list can be found here; the winners in the Letters and Drama categories are:

Fiction: The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt *
Drama: The Flick – Annie Baker
History:  The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 – Alan Taylor
Biography or Autobiography:  Margaret Fuller: A New American Life – Megan Marshall
Poetry: 3 Sections – Vijay Seshadri
General Nonfiction: Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation – Dan Fagin

* True story:  I saw my very first goldfinch yesterday morning as I was on a run!  I should have kept running to the nearest bookie, obviously.  :-)  Very pretty and quick bird, and very striking, too.